Monday, August 20, 2007

Dutt gets bail, sis gets 'Rakhi gift'; B'wood rejoices

Supreme Court’s interim bail to Sanjay Dutt in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case came as a huge relief to the family and friends of the actor.

“I am relieved and happy and it’s only because of the help and support of the people around us. This is my Raksha Bandhan gift,” said Dutt’s sister Priya Dutt.

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who is currently shooting in Dubai, told CNN-IBN that he was confident justice would prevail and that the adverse verdict on the actor needed to be questioned.

“This is a delightful piece of information. The matter is in the hands of the lawyers and we are sure they will put up a formidable fight,” he said.

Supreme Court has made clear that all the accused who have been under bail before, under both TADA and Arms Act, will be given bail because they haven’t been given copies of their judgement. The court says once the copies of the judgement are given out, the accused will have to surrender before the police.

Dutt’s colleagues in the film industry rallied behind the actor and said they will stand by him. “We welcome the SC verdict. The Sanjay Dutt judgement needs to be re-looked into. I am going to cast him in my next film,” said veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal.

Filmmaker Ashok Pandit said it was an emotionally positive moment for the industry. “He is our family member and we will stand by him,” he said.

Actor Rohit Roy, who has worked with Dutt in Plan, said he was overjoyed. “That’s the most stupendous piece of news. First reaction is that of joy. We are shooting for Alibaugh. But that is the least of our worries,” he said.

The political fraternity also reacted positively to the SC ruling. "I am very happy for Sanjay Dutt, he belongs to patriotic family," said Minister of Law and Justice, H R Bhardwaj.

Agreed Union Minister Kapil Sibal. “It’s great that Sanjay got the bail. It is unfair to put somebody behind bar without giving him judgement copy."

However, former IPS officer Y P Singh said there isn’t much reason for Dutt to rejoice because he hasn’t been granted bail on basis of merit. “This is just a procedural angle. They have been granted bail only on technical grounds,” says Singh.

Dutt is expected to be released from Yeravada jail on Tuesday after the Supreme Court order granting him bail reaches the prison authorities there.

Satish Mathur, IG Prisons, Maharashtra told PTI that the copy of the apex court order will be routed through the TADA court in Mumbai before it can be handed over.

Under these circumstances, the actor, who has served about three weeks of his six-year rigorous imprisonment sentence slapped by the TADA court in the Mumbai blasts case, is likely to walk out of jail only on Tuesday .

Dutt was imprisoned on the night of August 2 from Mumbai's Arthur Road jail which houses only under trial prisoners.

Dutt's lawyer in the Supreme Court - Mukul Rohtagi, explained the conditions on which the Supreme Court Granted bail to the actor along with 5 other accused in the 1993 blasts case.

“Court granted bail to all the six accused today on condition that they will report to CBI court in Bombay (sic) once a week, that they will not abuse their freedom, and that they will surrender the moment they get the copy of the (TADA court) judgement, where after they'll individually file separate appeals, raise their different grounds, and argue their case in the Supreme Court,” he said.

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